funeral, Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira
Thousands of people attending the funeral of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira - great-great-grandson of Rabbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira - on the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, on July 29, 2011. Photo by Michal Fattal
Text size

Thousands of people on Friday attended the funeral of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira who was stabbed to death on Thursday night in Be'er Sheva while he was hosting guests for consultation at a yeshiva near his home.

Among the participants in the funeral events were family members and leaders of the Shas movement.

Abuhatzeira will be buried next to his father in Jerusalem's Mount of Olives cemetery.

Police arrested a suspect following the stabbing. The suspect was identified as Asher Dahan, 42, a resident of the Haredi city of Elad. People close to the rabbi said that Dahan frequently visited Abuhatzeira to receive blessings and advice.

Witnesses said that Dahan entered the room with a knife and stabbed him numerous times in his chest.

On Friday, the remand of Dahan was extended for two weeks. He will receive a psychiatric evaluation.

During questioning, Dahan admitted to attacking the Abuhatzeira. Dahan said his motive was that Abuhatzeira had failed to solve his marital problems.

Dahan's lawyer said that Dahan did not intend to kill Abuhatzeira.

Police said they received a report of the rabbi's wounds shortly after midnight. He died within hours, early Friday morning, while being rushed to Soroka Medical Center, Be’er Sheva.

The 70-year-old rabbi was a popular kabbalist and grandson of Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali, whom his followers consider a sage who was able to work miracles through his prayers.

Following his death, hundreds of people gathered outside his home and cried.

Shas Chairman MK Eli Yishai arrived at the crime scene and expressed great sorrow. "This is a great loss. We are all shocked," he said.

"The rabbi was a righteous person. This is a great loss," said City Council Member Yaakov Ohayon. "We are shocked. The Jewish people have lost one of their supporting pillars. The rabbi was murdered while he was giving advice and guidance to people in need of his help. He has thousands of followers and he is one of the greatest rabbis in the world," he added.